Shining the light on Steve Biko

Moleboheng Shabalala portrays Ntsiki, Biko's wife.
Moleboheng Shabalala portrays Ntsiki, Biko's wife.
Image: Supplied

Bantu is a reflection on the journey that the country has travelled since Bantu Stephen Biko died in 1977.

The play currently on at the Joburg Theatre in Braamfontein, Johannesburg is directed by Makhaola Ndebele and shines the light on Biko's writings, his legacy, and his untimely death 41 years ago.

The play starts with a long prayer by Moleboheng Shabalala, who portrays Ntsiki, Biko's wife.

Biko's life as a student leader and anti-apartheid activist in the 1960s and 1970s is told.

He was a co-founder and leader of the Black Consciousness Movement which sought to empower, conscientise, and mobilise blacks.

It looks at how Biko's call for blacks not to forget who they were, values, culture, religion and outlook on life.

The play further poses questions about the current state of the country. It reflects on whether the country has implemented some of his ideologies.

Also featured are talented actors and musicians Katlego "Kaygee" Letsholonyana, Albert Ibokwe Khoza, Lifa Arosi and Ayanda Nhlangothi who also serves as the musical director.

Bantu is told through spoken word, spiritual music and drumming. The talented actors switch between roles with ease.

The play's approach look simple yet confusing at the same time.

Though Ndebele preferred an abstract approach, there is an element of humour.

Bantu highlights possible lessons for a new generation of South Africans and world citizens who seek to build and contribute to a more humane global society.

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